February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston: A Nightingale's Tale


I grew up wonderin' that aliens may really be cohabiting our planet… and there’s a viable reason to believe so. When I listen to Whitney Houston sings her heart (and lungs) out, I know she can’t possibly be an earthling, because nobody can sing like her, she’s totally out of this world! In my teen years, Whitney defined my taste for music. I’ve adopted a peculiar flair for the power-belting divas. My very discriminating standard has narrowed down my acoustic appetite for Mariah Carey and, of course, Whitney Houston. Any struggling singers, who could not decently boost their vocal range to, at least, 4 octaves high or anywhere close to that of Mariah and Whitney’s, will definitely go down the path of obscurity.  There were occasional slips, as Lady Luck would favor a few of those wannabes to swag their way into my elusive list of great divas. Well, Celine Dion earned a rightful… third place. Barbara Streisand, whom I accord much reverence, is ironically way too much a gay cliché I can allow myself to be. Hehe Minnie Riperton, on a different light, might have made it in my top list. But she’s already gone long before the Divas have invaded our planet. But truth be told, before Mariah Carey, there was Minnie Riperton, who can turn her singing voice into a mystifying nightingale’s whistle… to the tune of “Loving you… is easy 'coz you're beautiful, lalala… whoohah," then whistle. (You get what I mean?)
 

But all the new divas owed it to Whitney for putting "high notes" into the mainstream. She has redefined how any broken-hearted human being should heal by indulging in her emotionally-charged, vocally-amplified love songs. I mean, how many tearful nights have we spent, looking blankly far outside the window while listening to “All At Once,” "I Have Nothing" or “Why Does It hurt So Bad?” And tears will fell right on cue with its chorus and without much ado, we’ll sing along at the top of our lungs… “I wanna run to you... whooohooo... tell me will you stay or will you run away... yeeheeeyyy... run awaayyyy!"
  

It was a glorious era of scintillatingly spiraling voices of the cosmical Divas. And we thought we’ve seen it all until the two goddesses collaborated to give us “When you believe.” It was historical. We never thought we’ll see the day… but we believed and it came. And we all knew that Whitney has subtly reclaimed what’s supposed to be hers... and hers alone. But her doped life took the best of her. It’s painful to look at a fallen goddess. Her downfall marked the dusk of the golden age of the Divas. And Mariah sealed any remaining hope of its subsistence after the much-touted breakdown partially triggered by her invidious sourness towards  a new dancing, curvaceous Pop diva who almost got us fooled by the rock that she’s got. Jenny from the block rose to fame. A new era has dawned. From Queens, a new Queen redefined the landscape of the Divalandia. Now, whatever a diva lacks vocally, she compensates with her booty-licious moves. Then Britney Spears happened! (I know, right?!)
 

But every once in a while, we see remnants of the good ol’ days of the Diva Era. Only now, they bring more to the table. Beyonce has managed to be vocally at par with the older divas and has the moves that will keep you on your feet whenever your dilapidated eardrums need a timeout. Jennifer Hudson, whose vocals can summon even the spirit of all the departed divas, Minnie and Whitney included, also has a flair for the dramatics, of Oscar’s caliber.


Image courtesy of Mark Hammermeister
With these, we salute you, Whitney Houston, the Queen Diva who started it all. May you rest now in peace.

"We will always love you"
In memory of Whitney Houston 

Video courtesy of LEGACI